Foster, Texans overcome Manning to top Colts 34-24
Peyton Manning had some of the best numbers of his career on Sunday.
His defense put up some of its worst.
Arian Foster ran for a team-record 231 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Houston Texans to a 34-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in their first game since a 31-17 loss to New Orleans in the Super Bowl.
Manning finished with 433 yards passing, his most since 2004 and the fourth-highest opening weekend total since 1933. He completed a single-game franchise record 40 of a career-high 57 passes with three touchdowns.
''We wanted to get the season started off on the right foot, but we didn't do that today,'' he said. ''We just didn't play well enough today and that's the bottom line.''
Foster's performance was the NFL's second-best opening weekend rushing performance since 1933, behind O.J. Simpson's 250 in 1973 against New England. He also surpassed Domanick Davis' team record of 158 yards, set in 2004 at Jacksonville.
He is the first player in league history to run for 200 yards or more and three touchdowns on opening weekend.
Foster's 231 yards were the most yards rushing the Colts have allowed in team history, outdoing a game by Barry Sanders in 1997.
''I thought we were prepared for them,'' Indianapolis linebacker Clint Session said. ''Their athletes came out and played harder than we played today. We'll take this and build from it ... we don't like the taste of it. I've never lost to Houston.''
Foster's work helped the Texans to their second win in 17 tries against the Colts and their first since 2006. Manning rallied Indianapolis to come-from-behind wins after being down 17 points in the Colts' last two visits to Houston.
He completed 16 of 20 passes for 224 yards and two scores in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but this comeback attempt came up short.
Manning threw a 10-yard TD pass to Dallas Clark with 4:52 left to cut Houston's lead to 27-17. But Foster ran for 41 yards on the Texans' next series and capped his day with an 8-yard TD run.
''We had to have patience,'' Foster said. ''It didn't feel like I was going to be able to get going early, but you keep pounding and pounding, and they start getting a little tired and we start getting a little tired. It's a test of wills.''
Manning was sacked twice and Mario Williams hit him five other times. That's a statistic Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell was unhappy about.
''They certainly were in command of the line of scrimmage,'' Caldwell said. ''They had opportunities on both sides of the ball when they put a little pressure on Peyton. Hitting him one time is too many, but they got through to him a few times.''
Houston had a 13-10 lead at halftime and Foster stretched the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run that capped an eight minute drive to start the third quarter.
''At halftime, we talked about the key to the game being the most physical team and our offensive line,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. ''That's what you want as a coach. You want those guys walking the sideline saying, `Run the ball, coach.''
The Colts missed an opportunity in the third quarter when Austin Collie caught a pass on third down at the Texans 10, but fumbled after a hit by safety Bernard Pollard, and cornerback Glover Quin recovered.
''People are going to point to a certain play here or there (but) to me it was a 60 minute game and a 60 minute loss,'' he said. ''I don't think the offense picked up the defense. The defense didn't pick up the special teams. The special teams didn't pick up the offense. We just didn't do enough as a group to help each other out when one unit was struggling. That's something we've done in the past. That's something we're going to need to do starting next week.''
Foster ran 42 yards on the play after the fumble and scored on a 25-yard run that made it 27-10 with about nine minutes remaining.
The Colts added a score on a 73-yard TD toss from Manning to Collie with about 1:30 left, but their rally attempt ended there.